Almost 100 Hampstead couples head to divorce courts this New Year

Luke Thompson. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Luke Thompson. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

The New Year is a time for fresh starts. Most of us may resolve to shed a few festive pounds, others vow to quit smoking but for some, securing a date in the divorce courts is top of the list.

The first Monday back at work is billed ‘D-Day’ by divorce lawyers, with thousands of couples up and down the country trooping to the solicitors in search of a clean break.

This year could see a new high-tide mark for the number of Hampstead divorces.

The area has gained notoriety for infidelity in recent times – last year research emerged suggesting Camden was the second most adulterous borough in the capital.

Explosive high-profile affairs have often ended dramatically with Ruth Ellis gunning down her lover David Blakely in South End Green in 1955. An affair between broadcaster Baroness Joan Bakewell and playwright Harold Pinter inspired his 1978 play Betrayal.

But even by Hampstead standards, 2013 has got off to a flying start.

Family law firm R. A. Savage & Co, which has an office in Perrin’s Court, Hampstead, would normally see 60 couples make contact in January.

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This year it predicts almost 100 will do so by the end of this month.

Solicitor Luke Thompson said: “Couples often hang their hopes on Christmas because it’s the time they come together with their family to, in a time of reflection, reignite the marital flame. But more often than not it goes wrong.”

Mr Thompson, who is a married father-of-two, cites office affairs, interfering parents-in-law and, in some cases, a change of gender preference among the reasons why couples make it their New Year’s resolution to split.

However, this year the impeding end of Legal Aid for poorer spouses in divorce proceedings has sparked a surge in enquiries to divorce lawyers, according to Mr Thompson.

“People often want to start the year with their new partner – like a New Year’s resolution.”